From Chinatown to University City, from Peking duck spots to modern Asian fusion meccas, from affordable eats to serious splurges, Philadelphia is home to a long lineup of excellent Chinese restaurants. Whatever you’re craving, settle in for satisfying eats. Soup dumplings! Shrimp lo mein! Hot pot! It’s very hard to go wrong.
Don’t sleep on the dan dan noodles at this beloved Szechuan-Taiwanese Rittenhouse favorite from owners Catherina and Kevin Huang. It’s the ultimate comfort food, studded with rich minced pork and just the right amount of heat from chile oil and Szechuan pepper. (Grab an extra side of chile oil, if extra hot is your style.) DanDan also offers Taiwanese specialties, like ginger-charred shrimp fried rice and pumpkin rice noodles with shredded pork.
Two words: soup dumplings. They’re a must at this Shanghai-style spot in Chinatown, with fragrant broth and fillings like crabmeat, chicken, and pork encased in a chewy wrapper. Other popular options include the flaky scallion pancakes and shrimp and pork shumai. Dim Sum Garden also makes an excellent, not overly sweet General Tso’s chicken.
Mother-and-son team Lung Lung Chiang and Han Chiang opened the first Han Dynasty in 2007, and now the restaurant has 10 locations across Philadelphia and New York City. It’s no wonder. People can’t get enough of their pan-fried dumplings with ginger-soy sauce for dipping, silky lo mein, and spicy cucumbers tossed in sweet chile-garlic sauce. Han Chiang calls his food “a perfect balance of spice, numbness, saltiness, and flavor.”
You’ll miss the 10-foot-tall Buddha statue when you order in from Buddakan — one of the classic spots in Stephen Starr’s Philadelphia restaurant empire — but you won’t miss the bright, craveable Asian fusion flavors. The restaurant’s signature dishes, like edamame dumplings, spicy rock shrimp bao buns, and tea-smoked spare ribs, share menu space with ambitious plates that take their culinary inspiration from all over the map — think wok cashew chicken with plum wine sauce and crispy calamari salad with sweet miso dressing.
With locations in Rittenhouse and University City, Dim Sum House by Jane G’s makes Cantonese and Shanghai dim sum, plus dishes from the Jiang Nan region of China. Its menu is broad, with both regional specialties and tried-and-true favorites. If you don’t know where to start, try the crystal shrimp dumplings, bundled in light tapioca wrappers, and the teriyaki-glazed brussels sprouts.
This family-owned restaurant in the heart of Philadelphia’s Chinatown has been cooking up Hong Kong–style barbecue and Peking duck since 1980 — pretty much forever in restaurant years. Their eponymous Peking duck is an absolute treat. You can choose from Hong Kong–style roast duck, roast duck on the bone, or filleted Sang Kee–style Peking duck, which is less messy but also a little less fun to eat. They all have crispy skin that yields a juicy interior and come with all the trimmings: scallions, hoisin sauce, and plenty of pancakes or buns.
James Beard Foundation Featured Chef Margaret Kuo was born in China’s Manchuria region. Now she’s an integral part of her Philadelphia community and a powerhouse restaurateur. Tasting her Peking-style pot stickers, Mandarin barbecue baby back ribs, and Shanghai steamed soup buns will help you understand why her restaurant has been a mainstay on the Main Line for more than three decades.
Located in the historic Ballinger Building, Nom Wah is where to go to make your dim sum dreams come true. Don’t be shy here. Order the shrimp and snow pea leaf dumplings, the sticky rice with Chinese sausage, and throw in some chicken feet boiled until tender with vinegar and sugar then steamed with black bean sauce. Don’t forget to grab some frozen dumplings to stash in your freezer for an excellent late-night snack or quick dinner.
Tom’s Dim Sum has multiple locations. Its No. 1 is in Chinatown, serving up Shanghai- and Cantonese-style dim sum like juicy soup dumplings, fried buns, shumai, and scallion pancakes. The General Tso’s chicken and black pepper beef are also consistent hits.
“Su” means vegetarian in Chinese, and this veggie-forward spot has served quality Chinese food near the Rodin Museum for more than a decade. Unit Su Vege makes a spicy, satisfying hot-and-sour soup, a sizzling platter with eggplant and king mushroom, and a hot pot brimming with tofu, veggies, and glass noodles.
The city of Nan Zhou was once the starting point of the Silk Road and later became home to a signature dish of hand-pulled noodles in a heady, aromatic broth. Try it at Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House in the form of the braised sliced beef noodle soup, where their signature noodles are topped with tender braised beef in a rich broth. It’s a soul-warming dish — and just the start of the extensive menu.
Quintessential Chinese, American, and Chinese American eats are the name of the game at Oriental Kitchen, where you can grab fried chicken wings and pizza egg rolls along with roast pork fried rice and beef lo mein. For a sweet-tooth finale: sugar doughnuts, Oreo mousse cake, and even funnel cake. Only in the USA!
Ginger-scallion stir-fried noodles. Thousand-year egg and pork congee. Hong Kong–style roast duck. Lau Kee delivers on fresh ingredients and bright, bold flavors in these dishes and way beyond with their extensive menu of Chinese mainstays and some more esoteric dishes, too.
This 20th Street spot starts with Chinese food, then continues with sushi rolls and Thai dishes. Square on Square uses free-range beef and chicken and locally grown produce whenever available, like in the Mongolian Merlot Beef and the jumbo shrimp and scallops sautéed with bright lemongrass.
This classic Chinese spot has something for everyone. It’s reliable, tasty, and an excellent bet for steaming egg drop soup, veggie fried rice, sesame chicken, and beef with broccoli. Golden Empress Garden also offers plentiful vegetarian options.
Noodles are in the name, but this Chestnut Street spot offers all sorts of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes, plus bubble tea. The stewed five-spice Shanghai spare ribs are nothing short of genius, as are the crispy jumbo shrimp with chile pepper, which have a zesty heat not for the faint of heart.
Capital Beer on Cumberland Street is the sort of place that offers plenty of flavor with zero fuss. On the menu are Chinese staples like sweet and sour chicken and veggie egg foo yong, plus sushi offerings like spicy dragon rolls and yellowtail sashimi.
After more than 30 years, this understated Cantonese restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown is still going strong. It specializes in well-executed versions of American Chinese faves, like wonton soup, crab rangoon, and orange chicken with bell peppers, onions, and scallions in a tangy-spicy-sweet sauce.
This American Chinese spot has a menu with the greatest hits from both countries. Traditional Chinese dishes such as chicken mei fun and wonton soup share the menu with cheesesteak egg rolls, pizza rolls, and popcorn chicken.
Wonton lovers, rejoice. The Wonton Project started as a pandemic pop-up from Ellen Yin of Fork Restaurant, with a portion of revenue going to combat discrimination against Asian Americans. Its success inspired the opening of a permanent spot, where you can order the steamed spinach and watercress wontons and the steamed chicken wontons filled with chicken from Lancaster Farm Fresh, plus chives, ginger, shiitakes, cabbage, and sesame oil.
It’s all in the name. Steamed buns and whimsical desserts deliver on the yum factor. If you’re after something savory, the pork and scallion buns make a satisfying lunch, as do the fried egg noodles with veggies. The sweet-treat menu of desserts and beverages is where it really gets fun, from the white chocolate green tea to the toasted coconut and sesame bubble waffles.
Buddakan by STARR
Nom Wah by Simon Leung